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Speech by CS at Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia Convention 2010 (English only)(with photo/video)

     Following is the speech by the Chief Secretary for Administration, Mr Henry Tang, at the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (CASBAA) Convention 2010 at Grand Hyatt Hong Kong today (October 26):

Marcel (Fenez), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning.

     I would like to extend to all of you here a very warm welcome to Hong Kong.

     It is a great pleasure for me to take part in this year's convention. We are particularly delighted to see many old friends, and I see many hands raised by first-timers. Welcome to you all.

     Hong Kong has hosted this event for the past eight years, so it has become something of an annual homecoming for CASBAA and your members.

     The partnership between CASBAA and Hong Kong is no coincidence. Hong Kong has a long history of vibrant broadcasting, with the key element being, "choice".

     Our population of seven million can choose from over 300 television channels offered by our domestic free TV as well as pay TV licensees. Eighteen non-domestic television programme service licensees have chosen Hong Kong as their regional base. We have 13 commercial radio channels and a publicly funded broadcaster, RTHK.

     We also have state-of-the-art communications infrastructure that keeps us competitive and enables us to develop broadcasting services for a tech-savvy public eager for new ideas.

     Almost all Hong Kong homes and commercial buildings have broadband, and our cell-phone penetration is over 180%, one of the highest in the world. Of the 12 million mobile-phone subscribers in Hong Kong, almost one-third are 3G service users.

     We believe that market-led policies and a light-handed regulatory approach is the best way to promote innovation, investment and competition for the benefit of consumers.

     Allow me to share with you some new developments in our broadcasting industry.

     Earlier this year, we announced a framework for the development of broadcast-type mobile TV services in Hong Kong. We expect by early 2012 new mobile TV services will be available to at least half of our population.

     Turning to domestic free TV, where there are currently two operators in the city. We are now processing applications for introducing more free domestic television licences. We are committed to creating an open and vibrant domestic free TV market as well as providing more entertainment choices for viewers.

     We are continuing our roll-out of digital terrestrial television broadcasting. By the end of this year, we expect such broadcasts to reach nearly 90% of our population.

     We also expect to launch digital audio broadcasting by 2012, providing wider variety and, surely, better quality listening.

     With the advent of digitisation, the traditional boundaries between telecommunications, broadcasting and information technology are indeed becoming increasingly blurred.

     We are watching with close interest the challenges and the opportunities that will be brought about by media convergence. To facilitate efficient, effective and coordinated regulation, we have introduced legislation to merge the two existing sector-specific regulators that oversee broadcasting and telecommunications into a unified regulator called the Communications Authority.

     Ladies and gentlemen, cable and satellite broadcasting enriches our lives in many ways. It keeps us informed, it entertains us and it educates us.

     It also promotes creativity.

     Last year, we established a dedicated CreateHK office to spearhead and coordinate the Government's efforts to support the growth of creative industries. We also set up a CreateSmart Initiative with HK$300 million to provide financial support to initiatives that are conducive to the development of creative industries.

     Enhancing cultural diversity also helps provide the soil for flourishing media content production. Two months ago, we unveiled three conceptual plans developed by world-class master planning teams for our cultural flagship project, the West Kowloon Cultural District. We are engaging the public on how this major strategic investment should be planned in order to make this cultural landmark one of the best of its kind in the world.

     Well, it had better be successful because the Government has invested HK$21.6 billion in it. I hope we will be able to make Hong Kong one of the leading cultural cities in the world.

     No doubt, all these initiatives I have mentioned will provide even more opportunities for cable and satellite broadcasters to inform, educate and entertain, and above all, promote creativity among audiences in Hong Kong and across Asia.

     I wish you all a very successful CASBAA Convention and I wish you all a great stay here in Hong Kong. Thank you very much.

Ends/Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Issued at HKT 12:08


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